Posts Tagged ‘Haiti’

Jesuit Brother Jim Boynton’s Reflections from Haiti

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Jesuit Brother Jim Boynton has been on the ground in Haiti from the moment the earthquake hit in January. Br. Boynton teamed up with an group of former Marines who had honed their medical and emergency skills while deployed to Iraq and Afganistan and helped them as they provided assistance to the critical injured and wounded in Port-Au-Prince. During this time, Br. Boynton provided his own insights and reflections via the emergency team’s blog. The Chicago and Detroit Provinces have collected all of Br. Boyton’s blog posts and compiled them into one location on their website, which also includes information on how to help with the Haitian relief and rebuilding efforts.

Here is a recent blog post from Br. Boynton:

There are now over 40 camps of refugees in Port-au-Prince with population estimates ranging from 240,000 to 600,000. Each of these camps is filled with children who have been away from school for about a month, and who wander aimlessly with little to keep them occupied. Last week some of us were talking about the possibility of setting up refugee schools for these kids, and two days later the Jesuit Province was behind the idea. Foi et Joie (Faith and Joy), the school system I work for, will be setting up camp schools in three of the largest areas of displaced people in the city. Our estimates are that we will be educating around 7,000 students, something that even raised the eyebrows of our friends over at UNICEF.

As you can imagine, the planning going into this is enormous, and includes recruiting teachers; requesting funding; meeting with other NGO’s; securing tents, classroom materials, and everything else that any school would have. At times it seems overwhelming, but I do have confidence in our team and the products of the Fe y Alegria educational system around the world. One walk through the camps lets me see firsthand the tremendous need in the educational area, and rekindles the hope that some of these emergency schools might grow into something permanent.

Jesuit Brother Jim Boynton's Reflections from Haiti

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Br Jim BoytonShare/Bookmark

Jesuit Brother Jim Boynton has been on the ground in Haiti from the moment the earthquake hit in January. Br. Boynton teamed up with an group of former Marines who had honed their medical and emergency skills while deployed to Iraq and Afganistan and helped them as they provided assistance to the critical injured and wounded in Port-Au-Prince. During this time, Br. Boynton provided his own insights and reflections via the emergency team’s blog. The Chicago and Detroit Provinces have collected all of Br. Boyton’s blog posts and compiled them into one location on their website, which also includes information on how to help with the Haitian relief and rebuilding efforts.

Here is a recent blog post from Br. Boynton:

There are now over 40 camps of refugees in Port-au-Prince with population estimates ranging from 240,000 to 600,000. Each of these camps is filled with children who have been away from school for about a month, and who wander aimlessly with little to keep them occupied. Last week some of us were talking about the possibility of setting up refugee schools for these kids, and two days later the Jesuit Province was behind the idea. Foi et Joie (Faith and Joy), the school system I work for, will be setting up camp schools in three of the largest areas of displaced people in the city. Our estimates are that we will be educating around 7,000 students, something that even raised the eyebrows of our friends over at UNICEF.

As you can imagine, the planning going into this is enormous, and includes recruiting teachers; requesting funding; meeting with other NGO’s; securing tents, classroom materials, and everything else that any school would have. At times it seems overwhelming, but I do have confidence in our team and the products of the Fe y Alegria educational system around the world. One walk through the camps lets me see firsthand the tremendous need in the educational area, and rekindles the hope that some of these emergency schools might grow into something permanent.

Jesuit Father Ken Gavin, Director of JRS/USA, Speaks with NPR on Outreach to Haiti

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Jesuit Fr. Ken Gavin, Executive Director of JRS/USA and Fr. Perard Monestime, Director of the JRS project in Haiti, discuss options for water project.

Jesuit Fr. Ken Gavin, Executive Director of JRS/USA and Fr. Perard Monestime, Director of the JRS project in Haiti, discuss options for water project.

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Jesuit Refugee Service/USA’s National Director Jesuit Fr. Ken Gavin was on NPR’s Talk of the Nation yesterday to discuss how outsiders can help communities, like those in Haiti after January’s devastating earthquake, in crisis. Some volunteers rushed to Port-au-Prince to help with no idea how to provide food, water and shelter for themselves. When is it appropriate for outsiders to help and when is that better left to locals? What’s the goal? How long do you stay?

Having recently returned from Haiti, Fr. Gavin discussed these issues and explained JRS’s mission of accompaniment:

Father Gavin on NPR: “When we talk about our work in Jesuit Refugee Service, we say that what we do is accompany, serve and advocate or defend the rights of refugees or forcibly displaced people. And that term, accompaniment, as you say, Neal, is incredibly important, because I see it as the envelope out of which all our service and all our advocacy – however important they are – flow from that sense of accompaniment.

And what we mean by that, I think simply, is to be close to the people, to be in solidarity with them, to step into their shoes, to experience their hopes and losses. Our sense of accompaniment comes from that spark of the divine that we recognize in every human person. It comes from our believing that even in the greatest tragedies like Haiti, that our God stands present with people in their suffering.”

To hear Fr. Gavin on the Talk of the Nation program, you can listen from NPR’s website or download the podcast. Fr. Gavin was interviewed by National Jesuit News before his trip to Haiti, you can view his video interview here.

National Jesuit News is urging people to give to the Jesuit organization Jesuit Refugee Service to help those in Haiti.

To support JRS/USA’s humanitarian response to the emergency needs of the Haitian people, please click here to be directed to their secure website and choose “Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund.”

Or you may send a check to:

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA
1016 16th Street NW Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036

Checks should be made payable to “Jesuit Refugee Service/USA.”
Please clearly note “Haiti Earthquake Relief” in the memo field on the check.


Jesuits Providing “Best Help They Can Possibly Get” to Haitians says Volunteer Neurosurgeon

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Just back from five days of intense labor in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, Dr. Russ Nockels, a neurosurgeon from the Loyola University Medical Center outside Chicago, struggles to find the words to describe his experiences.

It was just five days, but he’s having some problems adjusting to life in the Midwest. Coming home, to a secure roof over his head, is a jarring change.

That’s because for five days he slept outside, on the grounds of the Jesuit novitiate in Port-au-Prince, up early to begin 6 a.m. surgeries that continued until nightfall, when it became too dangerous to continue. And then the cycle would start all over again.

“No one had been really treated at all,” he said about his discovery soon after his arrival, as he responded to a desperate call for neurosurgeons sent out by Team Rubicon, a group of medical and former military personnel who have lent their expertise to Haitian earthquake relief.

Dr. Nockels never lacked for patients. There were spin fractures, head injuries, wounds all over bodies trampled by the structures that collapsed from the earthquake. These injuries were treated despite a lack of basics, including drinkable water.

“I struggle to even describe how horrific it was,” Dr. Nockels said. He did describe one visit to one of the poorest neighborhoods in Port-Au-Prince, which Team Rubicon visited after a resident had posted a sign pleading for help in an area where relief teams had yet to arrive. “There was the smell of death from people trapped in buildings. The people had nothing.”

Supplies were scarce. Splints needed to be constructed out of plastic bottles and cardboard. He will never forget scenes such as a mattress spread out with five babies on it, next to a grandmotherly woman. The babies were all orphans and the older lady was desperately trying to care for them.

“In 20 years of neurosurgery I never felt more appreciated,” he said, adding that he will never forget the look of a man as he worked on his son. The father never said a word but his eyes spelled out gratefulness.

Dr. Nockels said he was reluctant to characterize an entire people from what he saw in a few days work. And he was concerned about keeping the dignity of his patients, who have a right to confidentiality as much as his patients do back home in Chicago.

But, he said, “I could not believe how strong the people were in enduring it in such a dignified way. We didn’t have much anesthetic. We had to do painful things to them to save their lives.” Most took it stoically.

The Jesuit presence in Haiti is a valuable one, often exceeding the ability of better-financed agencies to reach the people. Dr. Nockels praised in particular the work of Brother Jim Boynton, a Detroit Province Jesuit who helped coordinate the response from the novitiate, as well as the volunteers from Team Rubicon and the Haitian Jesuit novices.

Medical personnel fear that the next crisis to hit Haiti will be an epidemiological one, in which contagious disease will spread like wildfire. People are huddled together in highly-cramped conditions, said Dr. Nockels, and already diarrhea caused by drinking dirty water is becoming a concern.

“I don’t want those suffering to be exploited,” said Dr. Nockels. But it is good that the word is getting out. “They need help, and the Jesuit community is providing the best help they can possibly get,” he said.

National Jesuit News is urging people to give to the Jesuit organization Jesuit Refugee Service to help those in Haiti.

To support JRS/USA’s humanitarian response to the emergency needs of the Haitian people, please click here to be directed to their secure website and choose “Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund.”

Or you may send a check to:

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA
1016 16th Street NW Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036

Checks should be made payable to “Jesuit Refugee Service/USA.”
Please clearly note “Haiti Earthquake Relief” in the memo field on the check.

Jesuits Providing "Best Help They Can Possibly Get" to Haitians says Volunteer Neurosurgeon

HAITI_banner_NJN
dr nockels
Share/Bookmark
Just back from five days of intense labor in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, Dr. Russ Nockels, a neurosurgeon from the Loyola University Medical Center outside Chicago, struggles to find the words to describe his experiences.

It was just five days, but he’s having some problems adjusting to life in the Midwest. Coming home, to a secure roof over his head, is a jarring change.

That’s because for five days he slept outside, on the grounds of the Jesuit novitiate in Port-au-Prince, up early to begin 6 a.m. surgeries that continued until nightfall, when it became too dangerous to continue. And then the cycle would start all over again.

“No one had been really treated at all,” he said about his discovery soon after his arrival, as he responded to a desperate call for neurosurgeons sent out by Team Rubicon, a group of medical and former military personnel who have lent their expertise to Haitian earthquake relief.

Dr. Nockels never lacked for patients. There were spin fractures, head injuries, wounds all over bodies trampled by the structures that collapsed from the earthquake. These injuries were treated despite a lack of basics, including drinkable water.

“I struggle to even describe how horrific it was,” Dr. Nockels said. He did describe one visit to one of the poorest neighborhoods in Port-Au-Prince, which Team Rubicon visited after a resident had posted a sign pleading for help in an area where relief teams had yet to arrive. “There was the smell of death from people trapped in buildings. The people had nothing.”

Supplies were scarce. Splints needed to be constructed out of plastic bottles and cardboard. He will never forget scenes such as a mattress spread out with five babies on it, next to a grandmotherly woman. The babies were all orphans and the older lady was desperately trying to care for them.

“In 20 years of neurosurgery I never felt more appreciated,” he said, adding that he will never forget the look of a man as he worked on his son. The father never said a word but his eyes spelled out gratefulness.

Dr. Nockels said he was reluctant to characterize an entire people from what he saw in a few days work. And he was concerned about keeping the dignity of his patients, who have a right to confidentiality as much as his patients do back home in Chicago.

But, he said, “I could not believe how strong the people were in enduring it in such a dignified way. We didn’t have much anesthetic. We had to do painful things to them to save their lives.” Most took it stoically.

The Jesuit presence in Haiti is a valuable one, often exceeding the ability of better-financed agencies to reach the people. Dr. Nockels praised in particular the work of Brother Jim Boynton, a Detroit Province Jesuit who helped coordinate the response from the novitiate, as well as the volunteers from Team Rubicon and the Haitian Jesuit novices.

Medical personnel fear that the next crisis to hit Haiti will be an epidemiological one, in which contagious disease will spread like wildfire. People are huddled together in highly-cramped conditions, said Dr. Nockels, and already diarrhea caused by drinking dirty water is becoming a concern.

“I don’t want those suffering to be exploited,” said Dr. Nockels. But it is good that the word is getting out. “They need help, and the Jesuit community is providing the best help they can possibly get,” he said.

National Jesuit News is urging people to give to the Jesuit organization Jesuit Refugee Service to help those in Haiti.

To support JRS/USA’s humanitarian response to the emergency needs of the Haitian people, please click here to be directed to their secure website and choose “Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund.”

Or you may send a check to:

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA
1016 16th Street NW Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036

Checks should be made payable to “Jesuit Refugee Service/USA.”
Please clearly note “Haiti Earthquake Relief” in the memo field on the check.